A Minute With: Clay Aiken, from "Idol" and beyond

Tue Jun 1, 2010 8:29am EDT
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By Belinda Goldsmith

CANBERRA (Reuters) - Singer Clay Aiken says he's returning to the music he loves with his fifth studio album since emerging seven years ago from the hit TV show "American Idol" which brought him fame but also some personal challenges.

Aiken, 31, was thrust into the spotlight as runner-up in the second series of "Idol" and learned along the way to stand his ground whilst also accepting the glare on his private life.

When his "dear friend" music producer Jaymes Foster gave birth to his son Parker in 2008, Aiken decided to come out as gay, a decision he was not happy to make but is glad it is over.

His fifth album, "Tried and True," released on June 1, contains songs from the 1950s and 1960s such as "Can't Take My Eyes Off You," "Misty," and two songs he sang while on "Idol" in 2003 -- "Mack the Knife" and "Unchained Melody."

This month he also embarks on a co-headlining tour with Ruben Studdard, the winner of "Idol" when Aiken competed, and plans to tour with his new album early next year.

Aiken, one of the top 5 best-selling "Idols," spoke to Reuters about his new album and career:

Q: Why go back to the '50s and '60s?

A: "This is more what I always wanted to do and is far more true to who I am than what I ended up doing after I got off "Idol." You get off the show with a big record contract and the   Continued...

<p>Singer Clay Aiken, an "American Idol" finalist performs onstage at the 31st annual American Music Awards in Los Angeles, November 16, 2003. REUTERS/Jim Ruymen</p>